Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

Scientific name: Oxyura jamaicensis

Did you know: The Ruddy Duck is known for its unusual blue bill and its ability to create a swirl of bubbles in the water during its unique courtship display.

What Do Ruddy Ducks Look Like? (how to identify them)

Ruddy Ducks are distinctive small ducks with stout bills shaped like a scoop, and long, tough tails, often held positioned upward. Their heads peak slightly and they have short but thick necks. 

Differences Between Male and Female Ruddy Ducks

Male Ruddy Ducks are known for their striking summer plumage, featuring a rich chestnut body, black cap, and a bright blue bill. In contrast, females and juvenile males are less vibrant, with overall brownish tones, a dark cap, and a less distinct cheek stripe. 

During the winter, both sexes adopt a duller appearance, though the males retain their characteristic cap and cheek patterns.

What Do Ruddy Ducks Eat?

Ruddy Ducks primarily feed on roots and seeds of aquatic plants, supplemented by aquatic insects and even crustaceans. They are proficient divers and often forage underwater.

Where Do Ruddy Ducks Live? (inc. migration info)

These ducks are migratory, breeding in marshy lakes and ponds. In winter, they move to coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds. The Ruddy Duck, originally from North America, found a new home in the United Kingdom following escapes from captivity in the mid-20th century.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Ruddy Ducks)

The Ruddy Duck’s vocalisations are distinctive, with the males known for their unusual courting sounds. They create a series of bubbles by beating their bills against their necks, a sound that is as unique as it is fascinating.

Fun Ruddy Duck Facts (kid friendly)

  • Ruddy Ducks can create bubbles in the water during their courting rituals.
  • They have one of the largest eggs relative to their body size among ducks.
  • These ducks are adept at underwater swimming but are quite clumsy on land.
  • Fossils indicate that Ruddy Ducks have been around for at least 11,000 years.
  • They are fiercely territorial and can even chase away rabbits near their habitat.
  • Ruddy Ducks were accidentally introduced into the UK and are now considered an invasive species.
  • The male Ruddy Duck’s bright blue bill is one of their most striking features.
  • They can fly at 42-49 days old, quite an achievement for such young ducklings!
  • This species is known for its strong and aggressive nature, especially during breeding season.
  • In the wild, Ruddy Ducks can live up to 13 years or more.

Facts About The Ruddy Duck

Diet: Aquatic insect larvae and plant seeds.
Bird Family: Ducks, geese and swans
Length: 35-43cm
Wingspan: 53-62cm
Weight: 350-800g
Scientific Name: Oxyura jamaicensis

The Ruddy Duck Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December